My Mideast Punchlines: DEET that tweet…

A lawmaker from the Arab-majority Joint List on Friday accused the IDF of an “atrocity” by spraying Palestinians “with an unknown substance,” before acknowledging the video clip of the incident actually shows Palestinian Authority forces disinfecting a West Bank checkpoint.

“Another atrocity [being committed] by the occupation under the cover of the coronavirus — the IDF is spraying Palestinians at the Qalqilya checkpoint with an unknown substance. Everyone agrees the spraying method is not effective in the fight against the virus,” Joint List MK Aida Touma-Sliman wrote on Twitter.

She added: “The horrors being committed under the cover of the crisis can’t be ignored.”

biffThe only horror committed was Touma-Sliman’s knee-jerk reaction in blaming the Israel army. How Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz could even think of forming a coalition with this type of person is beyond me.

Touma-Sliman later deleted the post and said she had been “misled” about the video. “At least I have the courage and the integrity to admit mistakes. You continue to callously lie even when the truth is clear,” she said. Yes, madam, the truth is clear to us all: you are a terror-supporting anti-Semite. Pure and simple.


My Mideast Punchlines: flying cholent?

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday threatened Hamas leaders with “the surprise of their lives” if a spate of attacks from the Gaza Strip didn’t come to an end. Minutes later, yet another rocket was fired from Gaza at Israel’s south.

“I’m telling you as prime minister, I don’t rush to war,” Netanyahu said in an interview with Channel 20 on Tuesday night. “I don’t puff out my chest, bang drums and blow trumpets. But we’re preparing for Hamas the surprise of their lives. I won’t say what it is, but it will be different from anything that came before.”

Whether Israel carries out its “surprise,” he added, “is entirely up to them. If they don’t come to their senses with the rockets and don’t stop the balloons, it’s only a matter of time before we deploy it. Remember what I’m telling you,” he said.

biffMy guess is that having experienced an exceptionally cold and wet winter, the Israelis are planning to send thousands of exploding cholents* into the Gaza Strip. Failing that, we might expect to see targeted assassinations of some high-ranking Hamas leaders

*The overnight Jewish stew, cholent, is typically started on Friday afternoon and allowed to cook overnight to be eaten at noon on the Sabbath. It is a flavorful, comforting slurry of beef short ribs, beans, potatoes, onions, honey and smoked paprika.

My Mideast Punchlines: open sesame…

In a bizarre and highly irregular case, senior officers in an elite intelligence unit were harshly punished on Friday for ordering unnecessary missions by a Palestinian agent and later lying about it, the Israel Defense Forces said. The operations: buying tubs of tehina in the West Bank.

One lieutenant colonel was removed from his position and another was sentenced to 28 days in prison for ordering the missions. Other senior officers involved in the affair received official censure, but no other punishments.

Earlier this month, Channel 12 interviewed an officer from Military Intelligence Unit 504, responsible for cultivating and operating human assets in enemy countries, who revealed that on at least two occasions he had been ordered by his commanders to use one of his spies to purchase jars of the sesame seed paste as a gift for the IDF’s chief intelligence officer.

biffQuite right too. Unit 504, a unit feared by friend and foe alike, should concentrate on Hamas rather than hummus, and the Tanzim (a militant faction of Fatah) rather than tahina. By their arrogant actions, the hapless officers opened a jar of tsuris (Yiddish for trouble) for themselves. Open sesame, indeed.

My Mideast Punchlines: dusty bin…

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas firmly rejected the Trump administration’s plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Tuesday, calling it the “the slap of the century.”

Abbas addressed the plan in a speech to senior Palestinian leaders, including representatives of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups, at the PA presidential headquarters in Ramallah.

My Mideast Punchlines: planting a seed…

Prince Charles has said he would want to visit Iran, praising the Iranian nation as “remarkable”, while also describing himself as a peacemaker.

In an interview given to the Sunday Times at the World Economic Forum in Davos and published on Saturday, the heir to the throne said: “Yes, obviously I would like to [go to Iran].”

He went on to praise Iran for its contributions in “human knowledge, culture, poetry, art”, saying that Iranian people were “remarkable.”

biffAt first sight, it might seem preposterous that a man who has discussions with plants would having something in common with the ayatollahs. But you never know, the clerics might see themselves as kindred spirits, given that they have an apocalyptic belief that the world must come to a virtual end so that the twelfth imam (in this usage meaning a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad through his cousin Ali and his daughter Fatimah ) did not die but went into a spiritual form of existence known as occultation, and will return at the end of time as a messianic Mahdi to restore justice and equity on earth.

Makes talking to plants seem entirely logical.

My Mideast Punchlines: woof, woof…

The US administration will publish its long-anticipated Israeli-Palestinian peace proposal today.

President Trump predicted that the Palestinians will “ultimately” come around to giving their support. “They probably won’t want it initially. I think in the end they will,” he said. “I think in the end they’re going to want it. It’s very good for them. In fact, it’s overly good to them. So we’ll see what happens. Now without them, we don’t do the deal. And that’s okay.”

If no peace deal can be achieved, he said, “life goes on.”

Israel’s Channel 12 news on Monday reported that Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas called Trump “a dog, son of a dog” in a meeting with Fatah officials over the past day. The report did not cite any sources, and the PA denied it, with an official in Abbas’s office saying no formal meeting of Fatah leadership took place on Monday or Sunday.

biffAbbas has previous form with his dog comments about Trump. What is it with Arabs and dogs? Maybe it’s because they regard canines as unclean. Well, I think I can speak on behalf of the Radford family bitch, Toffee. She may not know who she is, but she is certainly sentient. The pain caused to her sensitivities by Holocaust denier Abbas’ comments cannot be overstated. Upon hearing of the Palestinian leader’s alleged comment, Toffee said, “woof, woof,” which, using Google Translate, means “faecal orifice.”


My Mideast Punchlines: dream, dream, dream…

Having persecuted and purged their Jews as punishment for the rebirth of Israel, many Arabs now realise they shot themselves in the foot.

A million Jews lived in Arab countries in the 20th century. Today, just a few thousand are left, mostly in Morocco and Tunisia.

The purging of the Jews caused a crisis in almost every Arab country from which they came. Despite their relatively limited numbers, the Jews’ impact on society, culture, economy, and trade was crucial to the development of those countries, and their loss was felt. After the Jews were evicted from Iraq and Egypt, for example, those countries experienced crisis after crisis.

There is now a palpable longing in most Arab states for the Jews to return. Many believe that only with a Jewish presence will their countries blossom and develop as they did in the past.

biffWell, having a wife whose family members suffered pogroms in Aden before being expelled, I can’t imagine the queues to return will be very long. Basically, the 850,000 Jews thrown out of Arab countries around the time of the establishment of the State of Israel learned pretty quickly that any hardships encountered in the nascent state were preferable to ending up in unmarked graves in their erstwhile homelands. Is there one Judenrein country in the Middle East that isn’t a failed state? Since 1948, Arabs have been slaughtering fellow Arabs on an industrial scale. The upside is, no Jews, no scapegoats. It all really boils down to a question of trust. So it’s worth repeating the axiom of my late and beloved father-in-law Shmuel. He used to say: you can’t trust an Arab forty years in his grave. So to those Arabs who yearn to see a Jewish return, I simply say: dream on and singalong to the Everly Brothers:

My Mideast Punchlines: contract capers…

An Iranian lawmaker announced a 3 million dollar contract to “whoever kills Trump,” Iranian semi-official News agency reported.

“On behalf of people of Kerman province, we will pay 3 million dollar award in cash to whoever kills Trump,” Ahmad Hamzeh told parliamentarians, according to ISNA.

Kerman is the hometown of Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s top commander of the Quds Force who was killed by a US drone on Jan. 3 in Iraq.

biffApparently, there’s no truth to the rumour that Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi and presidential wannabe Bernie Sanders are vying for the task.

My Mideast Punchlines: Newspeak, a.k.a. bullsh**t

Iran supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds force should be viewed as a “humanitarian organisation with human values,” while delivering the morning prayer sermon on Friday.

In the sermon Khamenei was expected to throw his support behind the elite Revolutionary Guards after their belated admission that they had downed an airliner in error sparked days of rage on the streets.

biffI am reminded of George Orwell’s Newspeak in 1984. Don’t be surprised if the mad mullahs create a dystopian “Minipax (Ministry of Peace, i.e. Ministry of War).” This, Orwell explains, is similar to “the characteristic features of political language… in totalitarian countries” of the early 20th century. Make that early 21st century.

Newspeak isn’t just a set of buzzwords, but the deliberate replacement of one set of words in the language for another. The transition is still in progress in the fictional 1984, but is expected to be completed “by about the year 2050.” We can’t wait that long. The regime is struggling now more than ever, and Ayatollah Khamanei should remember the Iranian proverb, when misfortune moves over you, even jelly will break your teeth. Opposition to the regime is mounting, so he should also remember that you can close the city gates, but you can’t close the people’s mouths. Are we witnessing the beginning of the endgame? I sincerely hope so.

My Mideast Punchline: moon landing…

Saeb Erekat, the secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s Executive Committee, recently described International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s announcement of her intention to investigate alleged war crimes in the Palestinian territories as akin to late US astronaut Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon.

Armstrong became the first person to set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969. While on the moon, he famously uttered the words: “One small step for man. One giant leap for mankind.”

“It is my belief that I can compare this step to the steps of Neil Armstrong when he put his foot on the moon in 1969,” Erekat told Al Jazeera last week. “I do not want to exaggerate with regard to this matter, but the inability to achieve peace throughout these years…was because the Israeli occupation authorities have not been questioned and held accountable.”

biffWhen Erekat, an inveterate liar, says that he does not want to exaggerate, you can always be sure that the opposite is true. When it comes to reality, Erekat indeed lives on the Moon. How can we forget his most famous exaggeration, his claim that 500 Palestinians were killed in the Battle of Jenin in 2002? The real figure was 53, with 23 IDF soldiers also being killed. “Massacre, massacre,” bleated Erekat and his then boss Yasser Arafat. Yes, Saeb, the only thing massacred was the truth.